AbstractThe microwave liquefaction kinetics of corn stover in the presence of ethylene glycol (EG) using sulfuric acid as a catalyst was studied. The liquefaction apparent rate constant (k) was examined using a first-order reaction model. The k values of corn stover increased from 0.080 min-1 to 0.165 min-1, with the reaction temperature increasing from 120 °C to 180 °C. The k value of cellulose at 160 °C was close to that of corn stover, indicating that cellulose was involved in the rate-determining step in the microwave liquefaction. The microwave liquefaction rate of corn stover at 160 °C was seven times greater than that of conventional liquefaction with external heating. The apparent activation energy (Ea) was 22.6 kJ mol-1 and the frequency factor (A) was found to be 12.98×105 s-1. The decrease in apparent activation energy and the increase in the frequency factor as compared to conventional liquefaction kinetic parameters indicates a non-thermal effect of microwave in the liquefaction of corn stover, which explains the acceleration mechanism of liquefaction with microwaves.